Last Updated on 10/01/2023 by Alfred
Wondering what to visit in Gironde for your summer holidays? Let’s discover 16 must-see places in this department!
Nowadays, visiting the Gironde is a very popular activity. It is particularly famous for its terroir and its unique gastronomy; it is one of the most visited regions in France. The Gironde is one of the economic poles of Nouvelle-Aquitaine. The former port region, it is now the largest department in France. It runs along the shores of the Atlantic and is strong in its beautiful landscapes as well as its oceanic climate.
But this historical territory is not only distinguished by its prime location. Indeed, it has the cultural heritage of the richest. Its region has long belonged to the mythical Duchy of Guyenne.
Also, you are wondering what to do during your stay in the area. So, here are some essential activities to do in Gironde that you will love!
1. Saint-André Cathedral in Bordeaux
Built-in the twelfth century, this cathedral is one of the most beautiful monuments to visit in Gironde. Gothic in style, it is a true emblem of our history. It was also the wedding place of Eleanor of Aquitaine and Louis VII, in 1137.
A few centuries later, it was Duchess Anne of Austria who married Louis XIII within its legendary walls. With its cultural heritage, it will easily charm its visitors! And this is whether they are passionate about architecture, art, or history.
2. The City of Wine
The prefecture of the department is not only famous for its architectural remains. Indeed, it is also home to the famous Cité du Vin. Inevitable symbol of the region, it is one of the most beautiful visits to make in Gironde.
Its museum will immerse you in regional traditions and the development of this legendary drink.
3. The Museum of Fine Arts of Bordeaux
Bordeaux is a real economic and historical pole of the region. This city is, therefore, home to many activities to do in Gironde. Founded in the nineteenth century, the Museum of Fine Arts bears witness to its rich cultural heritage.
You can admire Renaissance paintings and magnificent Roman sculptures. Art lovers, this is a place not to be missed!
4. The Castle of Roquetaillade
If you are wondering what to do in Gironde, you could discover its amazing medieval remains. Built-in the thirteenth century, the castle of Roquetaillade is a medieval fortress in the region. It has belonged to the same family for more than seven hundred years and has fortunately been able to preserve its atypical architecture.
Also, during your visit, he will invite you to retrace the history of this extraordinary department.
5. Bordeaux Pessac Zoo
With nearly three hundred animals, the Bordeaux Pessac Zoo is one of the most beautiful parks to visit in Gironde. It is home to many exotic wild animals, as well as several European species. But its diverse wildlife also comes from all over the world.
Asian otters, royal cranes, wallabies, mongooses, and giraffes will fascinate young and old! If you are visiting the area with your family, this activity could be a must.
6. The Cave of Pair-Non-Pair
The Bordeaux territory is particularly rich in its prehistoric remains. This is why the Grotte de Pair-non-Pair is an essential discovery to make in Gironde. It is one of the most amazing painted caverns in France.
It is estimated that its multiple representations date back tens of thousands of years. This activity will be ideal for history and culture lovers!
7. Château Guiraud
The terroir of the department is an integral part of its cultural heritage. Wine estates are, therefore, exceptional places to visit in Gironde. Château Guiraud, for example, is one of the most beautiful wineries in the region.
Since 1855, he has specialized in the production of Sauternes wines. These grand crus, renowned throughout the world, are among the best grape varieties. By exploring its fabulous building, you can also taste it!
8. The Teich Ornithological Reserve
The Arcachon basin is renowned for its magnificent green landscapes. However, it is also characterized by its particular fauna. It is also home to the fabulous Teich ornithological reserve. Unusual discovery to make in Gironde; it will certainly please the whole family.
You will be able to observe herons, egrets, and white storks. But this park is also home to some rarer species, such as the Belon’s tadorne or the amazing white spoonbill.
9. The Château de Chambrun
Among the many Bordeaux vineyards, Château de Chambrun is an emblematic estate. Its eighteenth-century fortress is also an interesting visit to make in Gironde. As you discover its historic building, you can learn more about the local gastronomy.
Also, you will be immersed in the heart of the traditions and specialties of the region. Your experience promises to be immersive!
10. The Church of Saint-Émilion
Obviously, the city of Saint-Émilion is famous for the eponymous grand crus that we know. However, it is not its wine estates that we propose you visit in Gironde. Indeed, the town is home to a real architectural treasure of the region: its church.
It was entirely carved into the rock during its construction in the eleventh century. It is also considered the largest underground church in Europe. Also, its magnificent architecture and unique structure will quickly charm you!
11. The Dune of Pilat
The tallest in Europe and an exceptional natural monument, the Dune du Pilat attracts thousands of visitors every year. It is one of the must-see places to visit in Gironde and an inevitable stop for travelers.
In the heart of the splendid Arcachon basin, it takes you to discover a fabulous wild setting. You can also admire the magnificent regional reserve of the Landes de Gascogne, as well as the Bordeaux region.
12. The Hourtin Nature Reserve
To better visit the Gironde, there is nothing like discovering its rich natural heritage. The Hourtin Nature Reserve invites you to explore its splendid dunes and marshes. During your exploration, you will be able to admire its green flora and its sumptuous landscapes.
You might even encounter a few species of its extraordinary endemic fauna. What better way to disconnect a little from everyday life?
13. Fort Médoc
Fort Médoc is located a stone’s throw from the beautiful city of Bordeaux. However, its atypical architecture has nothing to envy to the monuments of the regional prefecture. Indeed, it is one of the many buildings of the famous Vauban. In 2008, it was promoted to UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In the eighteenth century, it was part of a set of fortresses intended to protect the capital of the department. Nowadays, it is one of the most exceptional visits to make in Gironde.
14. The Bassin d’Arcachon
We have already discussed some interesting activities to do in the Bassin d’Arcachon. But this unique lagoon is a discovery in its own right. It extends from the Leyre to the town of Lège-Cap-Ferret and runs along the commune of La Teste-de-Buch to the south.
Unlike the lakes in the region, it is open to the Atlantic Ocean. In addition, it marks the end of the dune cordon of the famous Silver Coast. This is what makes it one of the most amazing places to visit in Gironde.
15. The Gironde Estuary
In the same way, the Estuary of the Garonne and Dordogne is an exceptional site to visit in Gironde. Indeed, it is the cradle of the economic and cultural history of the territory. It has long been the site of important maritime exchanges and preserves many vestiges of its past.
Even today, it allows the passage of many merchant ships that go up the rivers to other cities. Throughout its monuments, you will be immersed in the heart of local traditions!
16. The Citadel of Blaye
The Citadel of Blaye is a must-visit to do in Gironde. This military complex of about forty hectares actually testifies to the rich historical heritage of the region. It stands on the shores of the Atlantic and has long helped protect beautiful Bordeaux from maritime attacks.
Nowadays, it has fortunately been able to preserve its imposing Renaissance architecture. It will certainly appeal to history buffs but also to culture lovers!
See also in Gironde
If you are still wondering what to do in Gironde during your stay, do not wait any longer. In addition to these sixteen must-see places, the department is full of unusual activities for the holidays. For example, the city of Bordeaux is home to many fascinating monuments. One thinks in particular of the famous Place des Quinconces or the National Opera.
In the same way, you could discover the local flavors by visiting the legendary Cap Ferret. You could also cool off at the Pond of Lacanau or admire the magnificent Pointe de Grave. The Bordeaux region has many exceptional sites to visit in Gironde!
How to go to Gironde?
To visit the Gironde, you could opt for a plane trip. Departing from Lyon, Paris or Strasbourg, you can easily reach Bordeaux in less than an hour’s flight.
Nevertheless, it is better to use a flight comparator like our partner Skyscanner. You will then be able to find the best cheap route for your trip. Whatever your dates, this site promises you a cheaper trip for your summer vacation.
Also, once there, it is recommended to rent a car to visit the Gironde. As we have seen, the territory is full of must-see places for your holidays. Unfortunately, these are not always accessible by public transit. We, therefore, advise you to opt for a car rental in order to be able to move at your ease!
If you prefer the land route, you can easily reach the department by car. For this, you will have to go through the A63 or the A62 if you come from the south of France. For their part, northerners will only be able to get to Bordeaux by taking the A10 or the national roads. After putting down your suitcases, all you have to do is choose from these many activities to do in Gironde!
Where to stay in Gironde?
Before you ask yourself what to do in Gironde, you will obviously have to choose your accommodation! For a comfortable stay, we recommend using a hotel comparator. Thus, you can easily find the ideal stay for your holidays. You will be able to select your travel dates and find the best accommodation at a low price.
For the summer period, the average price of a room varies from 50 to 150 euros per night. Obviously, the rates depend on the type of hotel you select, its location, and the services included.
But if you want a more immersive stay in the area, why not opt for a private rental? With sites like Airbnb, you’ll easily find the perfect accommodation for your trip. Offered by individuals, they invite you to immerse yourself in the heart of local traditions. You could, for example, choose to rent an apartment in Bordeaux, a mansion in Arcachon, or even a gîte near Saint-Emilion.
Your next dream rental will depend solely on you! Also, to visit the Gironde, we advise you to stay in one of its beautiful large cities. With a rental in Bordeaux, Arcachon, or Blaye, you will actually be closer to the main tourist attractions. You could therefore opt for accommodation in one of these municipalities for a most immersive stay.
Between sumptuous landscapes and regional traditions, your holidays are likely to be unforgettable!